- England welcome Wales to Twickenham on Saturday in the Six Nations
- Ben Te’o has been relegated to the replacements with Jonathan Joseph preferred
- The hosts began their campaign with a convincing 46-15 win over Italy
- While Warren Gatland’s team blew away Scotland in their opener in Cardiff
Warren Gatland was absolutely right. The Wales head coach predicted that England would make a voluntary change to their back line by recalling Jonathan Joseph at outside centre, and they have done just that.
The decision to pick the Bath midfielder at No 13 in place of the more direct, physical Ben Te’o is the only alteration Eddie Jones and his assistants have made by choice.
At scrum-half, Danny Care will start against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday, in place of the stricken Ben Youngs, with Richard Wigglesworth promoted to the bench, in readiness to win his first cap since the 2015 World Cup.
Jonathan Joseph has been given the nod at outside centre for England’s clash against Wales
Eddie Jones has made a voluntary change at No 13, as Warren Gatland predicted
One changed was forced upon Jones, Danny Care in place of the injured Ben Youngs at No 9
ENGLAND TEAM TO FACE WALES
ENGLAND XV: M Brown (Harlequins); A Watson (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), O Farrell (Saracens), J May (Leicester); G Ford (Leicester), D Care (Harlequins); M Vunipola (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton. capt), D Cole (Leicester); J Launchbury (Wasps), M Itoje (Saracens); C Lawes (Northampton), S Simmonds (Exeter), C Robshaw (Harlequins).
Replacements: J George (Saracens), A Hepburn (Exeter), H Williams (Exeter), G Kruis (Saracens), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), B Te’o (Worcester), J Nowell (Exeter).
Joseph galvanised England’s attacking play when he came off the bench in Rome last Sunday and the 26-year-old will be motivated by the selection threat posed by Te’o, whose appearance in the Italian capital was his first at any level for three months.
Since scoring a try in Cardiff during his first Six Nations match there three years ago, the electric runner has been highly respected by Wales.
Elsewhere, the men who have retained their places have done so on merit. England ultimately beat the Azzurri convincingly in their championship opener – scoring seven tries in a 46-15 victory, to set the scene for a seismic showdown with Wales, who thrashed Scotland last Saturday. There would have been few areas of debate among the coaches.
Ben Te’o, who started in the No 13 jersey in Rome last week, is the man to drop to replacements
Sam Underhill among the reserves will be food for thought in relation to back-tow plans
The presence of Sam Underhill among the reserves and Nathan Hughes’ progression towards full fitness may have created food for thought in relation to the back-row plans.
However, Sam Simmonds was a stand-out sensation at No 8 in Rome, while Chris Robshaw put in a typically herculean shift at openside and Maro Itoje was busy and effective at blindside.
The front row all played well, the locks deserve to continue and further back, the 10-12 alliance of George Ford and Owen Farrell functioned superbly to carve open the hosts.
Wings Jonny May and Anthony Watson also combined to good effect in attack, and Mike Brown was sufficiently reliable at full-back to defer any prospect of back-three experimentation until a later date.
Sam Simmonds was a stand-out sensation at No 8 in Rome for England’s tournament opener
‘We want to make sure our set piece is dominant and our defence is ferocious,’ said Jones
Jones echoed Gatland’s bullish mood as he said: ‘The team is hugely excited about playing in front of 82,000 fans at Twickenham and we’ll be well prepared and ready to go out there and beat Wales on Saturday.
‘We want to make sure our set piece is dominant, our defence is ferocious and that we are at our best against Wales this weekend.’
Care will become England’s most-capped scrum-half – moving past Matt Dawson’s tally of 77 – and the head coach added: ‘Danny Care very much deserves the honour of being the most capped England scrum-half and I am sure he’ll make the most of his opportunity on Saturday.
Care will become England’s most-capped scrum-half – moving past Matt Dawson’s tally of 77
–Credit: Sport | Mail Online